FILE - In this May 20, 2014, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference at the NFL's spring meeting in Atlanta. Steve Silverman, the lead plaintiffs' attorney, said this week, dozens of former players are joining a lawsuit against the NFL saying teams kept handing out powerful painkillers and other drugs with few, if any, safeguards as recently as 2012 to keep players on the field. That extends by four years the time frame for similar claims made by hundreds of former players in the original complaint and could open the door to a criminal investigation. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
AP

The NFL is weighing whether or not to implement harsher penalties for players who commit domestic violence, according to a Washington Post report.

The news comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens running back suspended two games by the NFL for an alleged assault on his wife in February. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell took heat for what many considered a short suspension, especially in light of longer penalties for recreational drug use by Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon and others.

Under the prospective new policy, players could receive a suspension of 4 to 6 games on a first domestic violence offense, and a year-long suspension after. The Post’s sources spoke on a condition of anonymity. From the story:

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“We need to have stricter penalties,” said one person with knowledge of the league’s deliberations on the matter. “I think you will see that. I believe the commissioner and others would like to see stricter penalties. We need to be more vigilant.”

Goodell has publicly defended the Rice suspension, basing his decision on precedent in previous cases.

Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of the women’s advocacy group UltraViolet, released a statement Thursday urging the NFL to move swiftly.

“The NFL has a reckless and shameful history when it comes to disciplining players involved in domestic abuse,” writes Thomas. “Ray Rice is just the latest of a long list of players the NFL has failed to hold accountable for abuse. If reports are accurate, and the the NFL is considering a new policy, that is a step in the right direction.”